Star Trek: Discovery’s Mission Kicks into Gear with “Context is for Kings”

It’s been six months since Michael Burnham’s colossal screw up that killed her captain and sent the Klingons and Federation into a full scale conflict. Burnham is content to just chill out in prison, but during a less-than-routine prisoner transfer, her shuttle has to be rescued by the USS Discovery and the enigmatic Captain Lorca who has plans for Burnham if she doesn’t get killed on a mission to Discovery‘s sister ship.

While I did enjoy Discovery‘s premiere outings, “Context is for Kings” really feels like the show kicking it into high gear. With this episode, Discovery is showing us what it’s doing, how it’s doing it, and where’s it’s going and it’s so dramatically different than any other Star Trek series has been that it is both exciting and a little scary. One thing is for certain, though: This is a series with a set destination and it is a series that plans to be methodical and mysterious getting there.

Which is great. I’m down for it.

I’m all for Star Trek throwing out the tried and true method of the Captain-centered dynamic. I’m eager to see adventures from the lower decks. I like that the characters on Discovery are damaged and less than savory. Saments is a jerk? Great! Lorca is underhanded? Perfect! Saru is psychologically scarred? Awesome. Tilly is weird… uh… okay, that didn’t work out that great.

Yes, I’m afraid that all of the characters were on point with the exception of poor Cadet Tilly who came off as less of a young socially awkward go-getter and more of a sit-coms parody of a young socially awkward go-getter. It wasn’t helped by the hammy performance, either. Everyone else in this show seemed to have found their inner motivation and it worked for them… Mary Wiseman took the Disney Channel approach and it didn’t. Hopefully, time will save this character.

As for everything else, I am more and more impressed with this series with each new episode. Discovery has captured the feel of being on a mammoth spaceship better than some of the Star Trek movies have. Discovery feels like a community with friends and dark secrets around every corner. The special effects are great, the humor is on point… I wasn’t even taken aback by the unexpected gore and surprise profanity… it fit with the episode and what it was going for.

Alice in Wonderland came up a lot in tonight’s episode and, appropriately, Burnham has gone down the rabbit hole into Discovery‘s Wonderland. This episode could have easily been the premiere, but then again I guess what they say about past being prologue is true… the first two episodes were prologue… now the mission begins. I can’t say with any certainty where it’s going, but I’m anticipating a lot of fun getting there.

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